How Many Cities in Crete?

Schol. A. ad Il. 2.649

“Others have instead “those who occupy hundred-citied Crete” in response to those Separatists because they say that it is “hundred-citied Crete” here but “ninety-citied” in the Odyssey. Certainly we have “hundred-citied” instead of many cities, or he has a similar and close count now, but in the Odyssey lists it more precisely as is clear in Sophocles. Some claim that the Lakedaimonian founded ten cities.”

Ariston. ἄλλοι θ’ οἳ Κρήτην <ἑκατόμπολιν ἀμφενέμοντο>: πρὸς τοὺς Χωρίζοντας (fr. 2 K.), ὅτι νῦν μὲν ἑκατόμπολιν τὴν Κρήτην, ἐν ᾿Οδυσσείᾳ (cf. τ 174) δὲ ἐνενηκοντάπολιν. ἤτοι οὖν ἑκατόμπολιν ἀντὶ τοῦ πολύπολιν, ἢ ἐπὶ τὸν σύνεγγυς καὶ ἀπαρτίζοντα ἀριθμὸν κατενήνεκται νῦν, ἐν ᾿Οδυσσείᾳ δὲ τὸ ἀκριβὲς ἐξενήνοχεν, ὡς παρὰ Σοφοκλεῖ (fr. 813 N.2 = 899 P. = 899 R.). τινὲς δέ †φασι πυλαιμένη† τὸν Λακεδαιμόνιον δεκάπολιν κτίσαι.

Strabo, 10.15

“Because the poet sometimes calls Krete “hundred-citied” but at others, “ninety-cited”, Ephorus says that ten cities were founded after the battles at Troy by the Dorians who were following Althaimenes the Argive. But he also says that Odysseus names it “ninety-cities” This argument is persuasive. But others say that ten cities were destroyed by Idomeneus’ enemies. But the poet does not claim that Krete is “hundred-citied” during the Trojan War but in his time—for he speaks in his own language even if it is the speech of those who existed then, just as in the Odyssey when he calls Crete “ninety-citied”, it would be fine to understand it in this way. But if we were to accept that, the argument would not be saved. For it is not likely that the cities were destroyed by Idomeneus’ enemies when he was at war or came home from there, since the poet says that “Idomeneus led to Crete all his companions who survived the war and the sea killed none of them.

He would have mentioned that disaster. For Odysseus certainly would not have known of the destruction of the cities because he had not encountered any of the Greeks either during his wandering or after. And one who accompanied Idomeneus against Troy and returned with him would not have known what happened at home either during the expedition or the return from there. If Idomeneus was preserved with all his companions, he would have come back strong enough they his enemies were not going to be able to deprive him of ten cities. That’s my overview of the land of the Kretans.”

Τοῦ δὲ ποιητοῦ τὸ μὲν ἑκατόμπολιν λέγοντος τὴν Κρήτην, τὸ δὲ ἐνενηκοντάπολιν, Ἔφορος μὲν ὕστερον ἐπικτισθῆναι τὰς δέκα φησὶ μετὰ τὰ Τρωικὰ ὑπὸ τῶν Ἀλθαιμένει τῷ Ἀργείῳ συνακολουθησάντων Δωριέων· τὸν μὲν οὖν Ὀδυσσέα λέγει ἐνενηκοντάπολιν ὀνομάσαι· οὗτος μὲν οὖν πιθανός ἐστιν ὁ λόγος· ἄλλοι δ᾿ ὑπὸ τῶν Ἰδομενέως ἐχθρῶν κατασκαφῆναί φασι τὰς δέκα. ἀλλ᾿ οὔτε κατὰ τὰ Τρωικά φησιν ὁ ποιητὴς εκατοντάπολιν ὑπάρξαι τὴν Κρήτην, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον κατ᾿ αὐτόν (ἐκ γὰρ τοῦ ἰδίου προσώπου λέγει· εἰ δ᾿ ἐκ τῶν τότε ὄντων τινὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος, καθάπερ ἐν τῇ Ὀδυσσείᾳ, ἡνίκα ἐνενηκοντάπολιν φράζει, καλῶς εἶχεν ἂν οὕτω δέχεσθαι), οὔτ᾿ εἰ συγχωρήσαιμεν τοῦτό γε, ὁ ἑξῆς λόγος σώζοιτ᾿ ἄν. οὔτε γὰρ κατὰ τὴν στρατείαν οὔτε μετὰ τὴν ἐπάνοδον τὴν ἐκεῖθεν τοῦ Ἰδομενέως εἰκός ἐστιν ὑπὸ τῶν ἐχθρῶν αὐτοῦ τὰς πόλεις ἠφανίσθαι ταύτας· ὁ γὰρ ποιητὴς φήσας, πάντας δ᾿ Ἰδομενεὺς Κρήτην εἰσήγαγ᾿ ἑταίρους, οἳ φύγον ἐκ πολέμου, πόντος δέ οἱ οὔτιν᾿ἀπηύρα·

καὶ τούτου τοῦ πάθους ἐμέμνητ᾿ ἄν· οὐ γὰρ δήπου Ὀδυσσεὺς μὲν ἔγνω τὸν ἀφανισμὸν τῶν πόλεων ὁ μηδενὶ συμμίξας τῶν Ἑλλήνων μήτε κατὰ τὴν πλάνην μήθ᾿ ὕστερον. ὁ δὲ καὶ συστρατεύσας τῷ Ἰδομενεῖ καὶ συνανασωθεὶς οὐκ ἔγνω τὰ συμβάντα οἴκοι αὐτῷ οὔτε κατὰ τὴν στρατείαν οὔτε τὴν ἐπάνοδον τὴν ἐκεῖθεν· ἀλλὰ μὴν οὐδὲ μετὰ τὴν ἐπάνοδον· εἰ γὰρ μετὰ πάντων ἐσώθη τῶν ἑταίρων, ἰσχυρὸς ἐπανῆλθεν, ὥστ᾿ οὐκ ἔμελλον ἰσχύσειν οἱ ἐχθροὶ τοσοῦτον, ὅσον δέκα ἀφαιρεῖσθαι πόλεις αὐτόν. τῆς μὲν οὖν χώρας τῶν Κρητῶν τοιαύτη τις ἡ περιοδεία.

File:Map Minoan Crete-fi.svg
There are not one hundred cities here.

Romans Disagree on Athens — Lucretius and Sallust

Athens Week:

From Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura:

“Athens, that famous name, first gave to sickly man
Fruit bearing crops long ago and with them
Created life anew and called for laws
And first offered the sweet comforts of life
When she produced a man with such a soul
That he once divulged everything from his truth-telling tongue.
Though his life has ended, thanks to his divine discoveries,
His glory has been carried abroad and now nears the heavens.
For he saw then that everything which is needed for life
Has already been set aside for mortal man and that
As far as they were able, their life was already safe…”

Primae frugiparos fetus mortalibus aegris
dididerunt quondam praeclaro nomine Athenae
et recreaverunt vitam legesque rogarunt
et primae dederunt solacia dulcia vitae,
cum genuere virum tali cum corde repertum,
omnia veridico qui quondam ex ore profudit;
cuius et extincti propter divina reperta
divolgata vetus iam ad caelum gloria fertur.
nam cum vidit hic ad victum quae flagitat usus
omnia iam ferme mortalibus esse parata
et, pro quam possent, vitam consistere tutam…
The man at Athens? Epicurus, of course.

Sallust, Bellum Catilinae 8

“The achievements of the Athenians were, as I see it, great and magnificent enough, but perhaps a little less so than is commonly believed. But, because the most talented writers happened to go there, the achievements of the Athenians are celebrated throughout the world as the greatest ever.”

Atheniensium res gestae, sicuti ego aestumo, satis amplae magnificaeque fuere, verum aliquanto minores tamen, quam fama feruntur.  Sed quia provenere ibi scriptorum magna ingenia, per terrarum orbem Atheniensium facta pro maxumis celebrantur.

Athens

Velleius Paterculus has his own take on this:

“My wonder passes from clustering in certain times to cities. A solitary Attic city bloomed with more works of every kind of eloquence than the rest of Greece together, to the point that you might believe that the bodies of that race were separated into different cities, but that the geniuses were enclosed only within the walls of Athens. I find this no more surprising than the fact that no Argive, Theban or Spartan was considered worthy of note while he was alive or after he died. These cities, though preeminent for other things, were intellectually infertile, except for Pindar’s single voice which graced Thebes—for the Laconians mark Alcman as their own wrongly.”

[18] Transit admiratio ab conditione temporum et ad urbium. Una urbs Attica pluribus omnis eloquentiae quam universa Graecia operibus usque floruit adeo ut corpora gentis illius separata sint in alias civitates, ingenia vero solis Atheniensium muris clausa existimes. 2 Neque hoc ego magis miratus sim quam neminem Argivum Thebanum Lacedaemonium oratorem aut dum vixit auctoritate aut post mortem memoria dignum existimatum. 3 Quae urbes eximiae alias talium studiorum fuere steriles, nisi Thebas unum os Pindari inluminaret: nam Alcmana Lacones falso sibi vindicant.

Here Velleius moves from the clustering of intellects in time to their clustering in space. Although, to be fair, it seems that one would be impossible without the other…

Continue reading “Romans Disagree on Athens — Lucretius and Sallust”

War and Peace and Weddings: Two Cities in Siena, Homer and Hesiod

 

In the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, Italy there are a series of Frescoes referred to as “The Allegory of Good and Bad Government” painted from 1338 to 1339 by Abrogio Lorenzetti. One panel shows a good government, and to the right the effects of a city governed well where the people seem free of the threat of war and their lives are full with good things–children, marriages, dancing.

Good government

The other city facing it is ruled by a tyrant; soldiers wander the streets and the law of might seems to be in effect.

Bad government

Here’s a short video giving you an idea of the whole composition. The City of Bad Government is more fragmentary, but the state of all three Frescoes communicates well the oppositions between Good Rule and Bad Rule, what ancient Greeks might call eunomia and dusnomia.

The allegorizing and the strict dichotomy are both rather typical of late Medieval thought, but what struck me about the city of Good Government is the collocation of images in the lower left hand corner:

20150612_172853

The image of the marriage so close to the festive dancing in the context of two contrasted cities made me think of the decoration Hephaestus puts on Homer’s shield in the IliadThe first city’s description starts in the following way (18.489-495):

“On the shield he made two cities of mortal men,
Beautifully. In one there were marriages and feasts
Under the lights of burning torches as they led brides
Through the city from their bedrooms—a great marriage hymn rose up.
And the young men whirled about dancing as among them
The pipes and lyres cried out. Women stood there,
Each at her own doorway, staring in amazement.”

᾿Εν δὲ δύω ποίησε πόλεις μερόπων ἀνθρώπων
καλάς. ἐν τῇ μέν ῥα γάμοι τ’ ἔσαν εἰλαπίναι τε,
νύμφας δ’ ἐκ θαλάμων δαΐδων ὕπο λαμπομενάων
ἠγίνεον ἀνὰ ἄστυ, πολὺς δ’ ὑμέναιος ὀρώρει·
κοῦροι δ’ ὀρχηστῆρες ἐδίνεον, ἐν δ’ ἄρα τοῖσιν
αὐλοὶ φόρμιγγές τε βοὴν ἔχον· αἳ δὲ γυναῖκες
ἱστάμεναι θαύμαζον ἐπὶ προθύροισιν ἑκάστη.

But we also find an elaborated comparison of two cities in a work ascribed to Hesiod, the “Shield of Herakles”.  In this short ‘epic’ poem, Herakles goes to fight Kyknos. His shield’s description is a central part of the poem.

Hesiod, Aspis [“Shield] 237-247; 270-285; cf. the two Cities in Iliad 18 (below)

“..Beyond them
Men in arms of war were struggling—
Some fought, warding destruction away from their city
and their parent; others were eager to sack it.
Many were dead; but many more still struggled in strife.
On the well-built bronze walls of the city their wives
cried sharply and they tore at their cheeks,
so much like living women, this work of famous Hephaestus.
The elders, the men whom age had bent,
Stood close together outside the walls, holding their hands
To the blessed gods, because they feared for their children….”

…. οἳ δ’ ὑπὲρ αὐτέων
ἄνδρες ἐμαρνάσθην πολεμήια τεύχε’ ἔχοντες,
τοὶ μὲν ὑπὲρ σφετέρης πόλιος σφετέρων τε τοκήων
λοιγὸν ἀμύνοντες, τοὶ δὲ πραθέειν μεμαῶτες.
πολλοὶ μὲν κέατο, πλέονες δ’ ἔτι δῆριν ἔχοντες
μάρνανθ’. αἱ δὲ γυναῖκες ἐυδμήτων ἐπὶ πύργων
χαλκέων ὀξὺ βόων, κατὰ δ’ ἐδρύπτοντο παρειάς,
ζωῇσιν ἴκελαι, ἔργα κλυτοῦ ῾Ηφαίστοιο.
ἄνδρες δ’ οἳ πρεσβῆες ἔσαν γῆράς τε μέμαρπεν
ἀθρόοι ἔκτοσθεν πυλέων ἔσαν, ἂν δὲ θεοῖσι
χεῖρας ἔχον μακάρεσσι, περὶ σφετέροισι τέκεσσι
δειδιότες…

“Next to [that city] was a well-towered city of men,
Seven gates were fitted in gold to their frames around it.
The men were engaged in pleasure at festivals and dances.
Some were conveying a wife home to her husband
On a well-wheeled cart as a great hymn arose;
And in the distance the light of burning torches waved
In maidens’ hands. They walked in front, flushed with joy
At the festival, as the playful choruses followed them.
The men rang out a song to the clear-voiced flutes
With their tender lips, and the echo rang around them.
Others led the lovely dance to the lyre’s songs.
On the other side youths paraded to the aulos;
Others plays in turn in the dancing floor to a song;
More were laughing near them as each went forth
At the flute-player’s lead. And the whole city was full
Of dance, and singing, and pleasure…”

… παρὰ δ’ εὔπυργος πόλις ἀνδρῶν,
χρύσειαι δέ μιν εἶχον ὑπερθυρίοις ἀραρυῖαι
ἑπτὰ πύλαι· τοὶ δ’ ἄνδρες ἐν ἀγλαΐαις τε χοροῖς τε
τέρψιν ἔχον· τοὶ μὲν γὰρ ἐυσσώτρου ἐπ’ ἀπήνης
ἤγοντ’ ἀνδρὶ γυναῖκα, πολὺς δ’ ὑμέναιος ὀρώρει·
τῆλε δ’ ἀπ’ αἰθομένων δαΐδων σέλας εἰλύφαζε
χερσὶν ἐνὶ δμῳῶν· ταὶ δ’ ἀγλαΐῃ τεθαλυῖαι
πρόσθ’ ἔκιον, τῇσιν δὲ χοροὶ παίζοντες ἕποντο·
τοὶ μὲν ὑπὸ λιγυρῶν συρίγγων ἵεσαν αὐδὴν
ἐξ ἁπαλῶν στομάτων, περὶ δέ σφισιν ἄγνυτο ἠχώ·
αἳ δ’ ὑπὸ φορμίγγων ἄναγον χορὸν ἱμερόεντα.
[ἔνθεν δ’ αὖθ’ ἑτέρωθε νέοι κώμαζον ὑπ’ αὐλοῦ.]
τοί γε μὲν αὖ παίζοντες ὑπ’ ὀρχηθμῷ καὶ ἀοιδῇ
[τοί γε μὲν αὖ γελόωντες ὑπ’ αὐλητῆρι ἕκαστος]
πρόσθ’ ἔκιον· πᾶσαν δὲ πόλιν θαλίαι τε χοροί τε
ἀγλαΐαι τ’ εἶχον….

The three sets of images (the Shields and the Frescoes) obviously convey different specific values and draw on separate moralizing traditions, but the attendant imagery and the distinction between a city governed-well and one beset by strife is striking. I do not mean to imply in any way that I think there is a direct relationship between the two, but rather that they are both the natural outcome of cultures steeped in dichotomous representations.

But that corner image of the weddings and dances when coupled with the opening of the peaceful city in the Iliad really started me wondering…

Arrian on Indian Rivers and Cities

Arrian, Historia Indica, 10

“The story also circulates that the Indians do not make memorials for their dead but instead believe the virtues of the men as sufficient markers for those who have passed and sing odes in their honor. It is not possible to write an accurate count of their cities because of the number of Indians. Cities alongside rivers or the sea are made of wood, since if they were made from brick they would not persist for much time because the water from the sky and the rivers overflowing their banks would fill them with water. The cities, however, which were built in powerful positions and in high places and above the rest of the land, are all made from brick and mud. The Indians’ greatest city is *Palimbothra in the land of the Prasians where the river Erannoboas meets the Ganges, the greatest of the rivers. The Erannoboas could be the third of the Indian rivers, and it is greater than them in some places, but it yields to the Ganges and adds its water to it. Megasthenes claims that on the side where the city is longest it is eighty stades in length and its breadth is 15 stades. It has a ditch built around it the full circumference of the city, about thirty cubits deep. The city has 570 towers on its ways and 64 gates. Every Indian is free, no Indian is a slave. In this, the Spartans are similar to the Indians, although the helots are enslaved by the Spartans and do the work of slaves. There are no slaves among the Indians, or at least no Indian is a slave.”

*Probably Pataliputra

Triumph of Dionysos in India

λέγεται δὲ καὶ τάδε, μνημεῖα ὅτι ᾿Ινδοὶ τοῖς τελευτήσασιν οὐ ποιέουσιν, ἀλλὰ τὰς ἀρετὰς γὰρ τῶν ἀνδρῶν ἱκανὰς ἐς μνήμην τίθενται τοῖσιν ἀποθανοῦσι καὶ τὰς ᾠδὰς αἳ αὐτοῖσιν ἐπᾴδονται. πόλεων δὲ καὶ ἀριθμὸν οὐκ εἶναι ἂν ἀτρεκὲς ἀναγράψαι τῶν ᾿Ινδικῶν ὑπὸ πλήθεος· ἀλλὰ γὰρ ὅσαι παραποτάμιαι αὐτέων ἢ παραθαλάσσιαι, ταύτας μὲν ξυλίνας ποιέεσθαι· οὐ γὰρ ἂν ἐκ πλίνθου ποιεομένας διαρκέσαι ἐπὶ χρόνον τοῦ τε ὕδατος ἕνεκα τοῦ ἐξ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ὅτι οἱ ποταμοὶ αὐτοῖσιν ὑπερβάλλοντες ὑπὲρ τὰς ὄχθας ἐμπιμπλᾶσι τοῦ ὕδατος τὰ πεδία. ὅσαι δὲ ἐν ὑπερδεξίοις τε καὶ μετεώροις τόποισι καὶ τούτοισι ψιλοῖσιν ᾠκισμέναι εἰσί, ταύτας δὲ ἐκ πλίνθου τε καὶ πηλοῦ ποιέεσθαι. μεγίστην δὲ πόλιν ᾿Ινδοῖσιν εἶναι <τὴν> Παλίμβοθρα καλεομένην, ἐν τῇ Πρασίων γῇ, ἵνα αἱ συμβολαί εἰσι τοῦ τε ᾿Εραννοβόα ποταμοῦ καὶ  τοῦ Γάγγεω· τοῦ μὲν Γάγγεω, τοῦ μεγίστου ποταμῶν· ὁ δὲ ᾿Εραννοβόας τρίτος μὲν ἂν εἴη τῶν ᾿Ινδῶν ποταμῶν, μέζων δὲ τῶν ἄλλῃ καὶ οὗτος, ἀλλὰ ξυγχωρέει αὐτὸς τῷ Γάγγῃ, ἐπειδὰν ἐμβάλῃ ἐς αὐτὸν τὸ ὕδωρ. καὶ λέγει Μεγασθένης μῆκος μὲν ἐπέχειν τὴν πόλιν καθ’ ἑκατέρην τὴν πλευρήν, ἵναπερ μακροτάτη αὐτὴ ἑωυτῆς ᾤκισται, ἐς ὀγδοήκοντα σταδίους, τὸ δὲ πλάτος ἐς πεντεκαίδεκα. τάφρον δὲ περιβεβλῆσθαι τῇ πόλει τὸ εὖρος ἑξάπλεθρον, τὸ δὲ βάθος τριήκοντα πήχεων· πύργους δὲ ἑβδομήκοντα καὶ πεντακοσίους ἔχειν τὸ τεῖχος καὶ πύλας τέσσαρας καὶ ἑξήκοντα. εἶναι δὲ καὶ τόδε μέγα ἐν τῇ ᾿Ινδῶν γῇ, πάντας ᾿Ινδοὺς εἶναι ἐλευθέρους, οὐδέ τινα δοῦλον εἶναι ᾿Ινδόν. τοῦτο μὲν Λακεδαιμονίοισιν ἐς ταὐτὸ συμβαίνει καὶ ᾿Ινδοῖσι. Λακεδαιμονίοις μέν  γε οἱ εἵλωτες δοῦλοί εἰσιν καὶ τὰ δούλων ἐργάζονται, ᾿Ινδοῖσι δὲ οὐδὲ ἄλλος δοῦλός ἐστι, μήτι γε ᾿Ινδῶν τις.